Dead Can’t Dance, The

The Dead Can't Dance

The Dead Can’t Dance

by Pam Calabrese MacLean


  • Autumn 2009
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-069-9
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 132 pages
  • Poetry

With a mother’s touch, a lover’s touch and the sure hand of an undertaker, Pam Calabrese MacLean compels the reader to take a dangerous look behind every façade, even though we will long to look away. Her women are fierce with their men, protective of their children and abrupt with the world. She observes the minutiae of life with an eye of appreciation, and looks at the grandeur with suspicion.

MacLean’s love poems are blunt instruments, ready to strike: “So far I’ve loved men / whose names are short / for nothing. / Kent. / Luke. / Kirk. / Quick blunt pokes / of sound.” Throughout these poems, MacLean offers up a solid understanding of what death leaves behind: death of dreams, death of desire, death of a beloved. Always we are “Left holding nothing, / surprised by the weight of it.”

MacLean’s poems are unforgettable landscapes of grief and tenderness with just enough wicked wit to plunge the reader into new insights on what it means to be alive.

“In these wild, funny and brave poems, Pam Calabrese MacLean — a sorceress of the ordinary world — goes into your own memory and finds those you’ve lost, those you’ve loved, and those who swung you around and around until you were blazing with joy.”
— Anne Simpson

“Here are poems that carry their readers along with slow confidence and leave us in silence, altered, with questions.”
— Stephanie Bolster


Reviews & Awards

Longlisted for ReLit Awards 2010

“Like the best parts of David Copperfield, after the death of Dora, MacLean’s poems are about the time after something”
Atlantic Books Today